Our Advent 2016 series began at the end of November and continued this past Sunday, December 4 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC. Senior pastor Craig Bailey continued in Matthew 1 focusing on the genealogy of Jesus this week. We find four women mentioned in the genealogy, which would have surprised Matthew’s original audience. Not only were these women mentioned as part of Jesus’ genealogy, but most were Gentile women and had questionable morals and standing in their communities. In the midst of human dysfunction and manipulation, God’s grace shines through upon his people. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Our senior pastor continued in Deuteronomy 29 this past Sunday, November 20 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, as we looked at the commitment to the covenant that God requires of us. Both publicly and privately, we should seek to honor God–not living lives of “spiritual schizophrenia” as “nominal Christians.” What do we do when no one will know? We should seek to have truth in our innermost being, so our outward commitments match our inner lives. For when we’re in the secret place with God, then He’ll radiate from us just as Moses’ face shone after he’d been with God. Listen to the whole sermon.
This past Sunday, November 13 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we looked into God’s Holy Word in Deuteronomy 29:16-18 and heard what Moses told the Israelites about the importance of community. Just as they were poised to enter the Promised Land on the plains of Moab, Moses not only felt it important to instruct about community but also about accountability to each other individually and collectively. Although the concept of community is really quite simple–a group of people coming together with shared interests, attitudes, and goals–this community of people was inherently different from all others around them at the time. They were the community God’s chosen people whom He rescued out of Egypt. They were to be a new nation, serving Him alone, seeking Him first always. Yet, as the Israelites were traveling through other nations, they were seeing gods made of silver and gold, seeing nations that had wealth and abundance as they were wandering in the desert with no land of their own. It is at this point that Moses warns them to keep each other accountable to the one true God and not be swayed away by other gods that may look alluring but are false and detestable, and ultimately lead to disaster. And the same applies today. Do we love each other enough to keep others in the community from serving false gods? Do we, as believers, really hold each other accountable or do we believe that small sins are okay? Or do we allow ourselves to believe the lie that “people in the church will think we are awful if they know the truth of what we really think or feel”? Just as Moses warned the Israelites to not be swayed and to help others keep their heart to God, we need to do the same today. By prayerfully being aware for ourselves and each other, then we are in true community and then we can experience true community in Christ. Listen to the whole sermon here.
From our passage on Sunday, November 6 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we see Moses give the most inclusive list of the covenant community anywhere in the Bible. Deuteronomy 29:9-15 includes high officials, lowly servants, internationals, and others who are all standing together on the plains of Moab about to enter the Promised Land. God’s Family is a mosaic with lots of colors and shapes, but the Pharisees wanted and worked toward a homogeneous, monochromatic picture. When Jesus began his ministry, he worked to radically reform: in the disciples he chose, whom he invited to his table, and whom he allowed in the temple. The Pharisees excluded but Jesus included–the sick, lame, tax collectors, and sinners. The grace of God is for all kinds of people: That’s the message of Moab, and that’s the message of the cross. Listen to the whole sermon here.
On October 30, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, guest preacher Shawn Maze led us through a Gospel message nearly 500 years after the Protestant Reformation. He reminded us we are called to celebrate not only the doctrine of grace, but also Jesus, the dispenser of grace. The passage of John 8:1-11 draws our focus to Jesus, the original reformer, and his interaction with a woman accused by the scribes and Pharisees of adultery. We turned several times to Deuteronomy to examine the law of Moses and draw insight to Jesus’ approach in His conversation recorded by John. Ultimately, we see that Jesus displays perfect righteousness and grace as He stands in His glory as the author of the law and of our lives. Listen to the whole sermon here.
On Sunday, October 23 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, our senior pastor continued in Deuteronomy 29 with his latest sermon series. We looked specifically at why God’s People were sitting on the plains of Moab and not already enjoying the Promised Land. Though they had seen God overcome every obstacle–slavery in Egypt, impassable Red Sea, impending army, hunger and thirst in the desert, and so much more, the Israelites still needed true sight to be able to look beyond circumstances like giants in the Promised Land to trust God. Since they lacked faith, they’re not enjoying the Promised Land yet. There are consequences for our spiritual health including consequences for our city and our community: Because of the Israelites spiritual blindness, God used 40 years of wandering in the desert to teach them faith.
So we must ask ourselves: What blessings are we being denied because of our spiritual blindness? As verse 29 implies, we must focus on what God has given to us and revealed to us. We aren’t required to know the future or to manipulate it; we must live our lives according to what’s been revealed. This is our moment as we’re less than two weeks away from an election. Let not future generations look back on us and ask: Facing an unknown future, why were Christians so faithless in 2016? Listen to the whole sermon here.
At Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we rejoiced to be back together this past Sunday, October 16 after Hurricane Matthew kept us from gathering the Sunday prior. Our senior pastor preached from Deuteronomy 29:1-15, and we see Moses renewing the covenant with the people–the same covenant and same material we’ve seen in various other chapters throughout Deuteronomy. Why is Moses repeating these truths again? Our pastor shared two reasons: God’s people are blessed to retell the story, and the covenant is always contemporary. Listen to the whole sermon here.
The phrase “that really offends me” begins many arguments and disagreements in our sensitive culture, yet we see God’s unfiltered truth in Deuteronomy 28 as he outlines the curses for disobedience to his commands. Our senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, on Sunday, October 2 showed us how God’s stark and visual message of the consequences of disobedience works for our good. God knows that when we his people experience blessing we’re likely to fall into entitlement thinking, taking His blessings for granted. He knows that when things are going our way, we often forget him or decide we don’t need him. It often takes trouble, suffering, and hardship to drive us to the Lord.
Though God’s truth can be offensive because truth always offends people, we see redemption from God’s curse in Galatians 3:10-14 since Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. What good news for us! Listen to the whole sermon here.
On Sunday, September 25 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we continued our Deuteronomy sermon series as we focused on the altar that God told his people to build in Deuteronomy 27:1-8. Our senior pastor explained how God is for his people; he wants them to thrive and flourish. This truth is demonstrated in the presence and picture of the altar. The altar, made of stones that won’t wash away, burn up, rot, or ruin, reminds his people then and us today of his permanence. The altar is where the divine and human intersect; it’s a place of personal interaction between God and man. Holy transactions take place at the altar, which we see with Jesus’ sacrifice in the New Testament. In Jesus, the human and divine meet perfectly, so his was the ultimate sacrifice.
So how can God be anything but for us when he’s so readily available at the altar? God is for us. Drink that truth in, then pour it all over others. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Sunday, September 18, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we opened our Bibles to Deuteronomy 27:1-8 to enter a story about stones and an altar, and we were led to ponder the nature of God. In this passage, Moses offers instruction to the people of Israel on how they should set up the law on large stones and build an altar to the Lord when they cross into the Promised Land. We are reminded from the imagery chosen of the permanence and strength of the unchanging God and are pointed to the dependability and safety found in Christ, our Rock. In a culture bent on updating and revamping, the steadfast nature of God and His Word may seem obsolete. In reality, the ancient words we hear from the Living God hold the same transformative power today. We find immutable truth in the One who became flesh and rolled the stone away, offering us eternal life through His redeeming blood. Listen to the whole story here.